The best shopping in Bugis and Kampong Glam introduces you to one of Singapore’s popular shopping scenes. Once a notorious centre of nightlife for sailors and military personnel visiting Singapore, Bugis, as well as the Arab enclave of Kampong Glam, has quickly become the go-to area for some of the city-state’s more alternative shopping action.
Bugis Street is home to the largest market in Singapore, whilst the ever hip and happening Haji Lane offers a genuinely unique retail experience. No comprehensive shopping area would be complete without a good helping of modern malls either; we’ve got it all covered in this handy little list.
Bugis Junction is no ordinary Singapore shopping mall. This modern development features a wonderful imitation lane of colonial style shop houses selling locally design dresses, T-shirts and accessories, as well as a few cute cafes where you can sip an iced coffee and pretend you’ve been taken back in time.
Glance over to the huge glass-roofed section, which is really Bugis Junction’s centrepiece, and you’ll remember exactly where you are. Under the giant glass structure, you’ll find a range of high street shops and a good range of dining option, including fine dining restaurants, fast food outlets and some hawker-style vendors. Bugis Junction is directly accessible from Bugis MRT Station.
Location: 200 Victoria St, Singapore 188021, Singapore
Open: Daily from 10am to 10pm
Phone: +65 6557 6557
Bugis Street Market
The sprawling Bugis Street Market – commonly referred to as ‘Bugis Village’ – is home to hundreds of shops and independent retail stalls selling tourist knickknacks, fabrics, accessories, shoes, vintage items and food. Just across from Bugis MRT Station you’ll find the bazaar’s entrance, which is instantly recognisable with its iconic red exterior and signs.
Enter inside the maze of avenues to explore Singapore’s largest flea market, as well as probably the cheapest. You’ll find tourist T-shirts for S$2, sunglasses for S$5 and a whole range of tasty local snacks from around S$2-5.
Location: 3 New Bugis Street, Singapore 188867, Singapore
Open: Daily from 11am to 10pm
Golden Mile Complex
Singapore is famous for its numerous ethnic enclaves, including Chinatown, Little India and the Arab Quarter, but not many will have heard of Little Thailand, which is found in and around the Golden Mile Complex near Nicoll Highway MRT Station. This ageing complex of shops, restaurants and nightlife is a magnet for the small Thai community in Singapore, as well as a few expats and locals who want their own taste of Thai culture.
On sale, you’ll find Thai music CDs, DVDs, spices, dried food products, bottles of Thai beer and the odd fashion stall. The restaurants here serve up some of the best (and cheapest) tom yum goong and pad Thai we’ve had in town. The Golden Mile Complex really livens up after dark though, when the shops close and bars and Thai discos open. The Golden Mile Complex also served as the new home for vendors from Singapore’s notorious and forgotten Sungei Thieves Flea Market.
Location: 5001 Beach Rd, Singapore 199588, Singapore
Bugis+ (Bugis Plus) is a modern 10-storey mall opposite the popular Bugis Junction shopping complex. Instantly recognisable with its crystal mesh-like exterior, which from afar look like balls of cotton wool glued on to the outside, Bugis+ has a fine selection of big high street names (Pull & Bear, Berksha, and Uniqlo to name a few) as well as a long list of independent stores selling locally designed clothes.
On the higher up floors, you’ll find a sturdy range of restaurants and fast food chains, and at the very top, there’s a multi-screen cinema. A good alternative shopping option if you want to beat the crowds of the nearby Bugis Junction or escape the heat of the Bugis Street Market.
Location: 201 Victoria St, Singapore 188067, Singapore
Open: Daily from 10am to 10pm
Phone: +65 6634 6810
Arab Street is at the very heart of Singapore’s Arab community and the surrounding Kampong Glam neighbourhood. The street is packed full of great shopping opportunities. Most of the shops on this quaint little road specialise in quality fabrics, Islamic dresses, flamboyant accessories, rare crystals and gems.
Those venturing this way will also find plenty of cafes and restaurants serving some great halal food and sweet Arabian teas too. You could combine shopping on Arab Street with a trip to one of the area’s most distinct landmarks, the epic Sultan Mosque, which is at the top of the road. Arab Street is walking distance from the nearby Bugis MRT Station.
Location: Arab Street, Singapore
Open: Most shops daily from midday to 8pm
Sim Lim Square
Sim Lim Square is a giant technology mall a short walk bordering the Bugis area in the south, and Little India towards the north. This multiplex of computers, cameras, phones, gadgets, TVs and audio equipment is the largest IT mall in the whole of Singapore, with nearly 200 stores spread over 6 floors.
Prices are cheap – even cheaper if you try your hand at a spot of bargaining – and the choices are inevitably vast. If you get bored with the gauntlet of gadgets, there are a few decent restaurants and cafes where you make an escape to, such as Manzeel Tandoor and others.
Location: 1 Rochor Canal Road, Singapore 188504, Singapore
Open: Daily from 10.30am to 9pm
Phone: +65 6338 3859
Albert Centre Market & Food Centre
Albert Mall is not really a mall – it’s more like a lane of street vendors offering a range of unusual goods and services. From Chinese aunties who set up their unlicensed fortune-telling stalls, to pop-up massage areas and vendors selling traditional medicines to cure all sorts of alignments, this really is one of Singapore’s more unusual shopping experiences.
An interesting place to stop by, particularly if you’re making your way to the ever-popular Kwang Im Thong Hood Cho Temple, which lies at the end of the route if you’re walking from Bugis MRT.
Location: #02-09, 18 Cross Street, China Square Central, 048423 Singapore
Open: Daily from 6am to 9.30pm
Beach Road Army Market
Living up to its name, the Army Market on Singapore’s Beach Road stocks a vast amount of army surplus. Although the market is obviously popular with those serving in the military, it does also draw in a fair amount of army enthusiasts with an interest in this these types of clothing and memorabilia, as well as anybody who fancies grabbing themselves a study set of boots at a bargain price.
With over 100 stores selling everything from uniforms, helmets, hats, T-shirts, jackets, boots and camping gear (such as tents and sleeping bags), there’s no better place to find this kind of gear anywhere else in Singapore.
Location: 505 Beach Road, #02-158, Golden Mile Food Centre, Singapore 199583
Open: Monday–Saturday from 11am to 8.30pm, Sundays from 11am to 7.45pm
Haji Lane is one of Singapore’s most well-loved alternative shopping streets, specialising in boutique stores selling locally designed pieces. This small lane draws in all of Singapore’s cool kids, as well as some in-know tourists wanting to spice up their shopping experience in Singapore.
The colourful and cute road, which is also famed as being one of the narrowest streets in town, lies at the heart of Kampang Glam, just a few blocks away from the central Bugis MRT station.
Location: Haji Lane, Singapore
Open: Most shops from midday to 8pm
A 3-minute walk from the Bugis MRT station lies OG Albert, a household department store in Singapore. A store for fashion, jewellery, cosmetics, watches, toys, furnishings, and food, OG is popular with families for generations.
Wander around the pedestrian mall in front of the Complex – it’s constantly buzzing with vendors selling knick-knacks, streetwear, foodstuff and religious items.
Location: 60 Albert Street, #01-00, Singapore 189969, Singapore
Open: Daily from 11am to 9.30pm
Phone: +65 6210 2222
The charm in shopping here lies in the streets adorned with picturesque shophouses converted into retail outlets and food outlets specializing in delicious Muslim cuisine. Shop for Malay, Indonesian and local souvenirs at Bussorah Street Mall – antiques including the keris (Malay dagger) at the Malay Art Gallery; Peranakan slippers from Little Shophouse, scents from Jamal Kazura Aromatics and more.
On Arab St, view the rattan and willow basketry at Rishi Handicrafts and San Marco Collection for funky fashion, costume and jewellery. Need to find fabrics for a wedding or a grand occasion? There are some gorgeous chiffon, silk, cotton georgette and other luxurious fabric finds from Bobby’s Fabrics.
Try your luck at haggling at some of these stores. Parallel to Arab Street is Haji Lane, believed to be Singapore’s narrowest lane with some also surprising finds offering from carpets to classic bags and vintage wear.
Location: Bussorah Street, Arab Street and Haji Lane, Singapore
Tangers stocks the latest Korean designed-and-made clothing and accessories which they get shipped directly from Seoul. The draw here is definitely in the simplicity and design of the capsule collection which includes not only great basic shirts and dresses but also items with enough flair to make you stand out in the office and at after-work drinks parties – think lace, roses and a dash of glitter.
Their rounded hem tank tops would smarten up a pair of jeans, especially when paired with some of their chunky colourful accessories. They also stock a great selection of floaty skirts and dresses, which go perfectly with the vast number of skinny belts they also sell.
Location: 73 Haji Ln, Singapore 189266, Singapore
Open: Daily from midday to 8pm
Phone: +65 6298 0023